A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton
Waterbrook, 2016. Trade Paperback, 388 pages.
The sequel to last year’s The Wood’s Edge, this is Benton’s second book in the Pathfinders series and it picks up directly where the first book left off. This means this is a much darker, more angst-filled book. As the American Revolution begins, the characters are struggling to find inner peace amid the troubled times. Young William Aubrey struggles with determining who he now is. Reginald Aubrey finds himself more troubled than ever with his past decisions now that he sees the ramifications. Anna Catherine Doyle longs for a life with her love, Two Hawks, but the cultural barrier causes family issues. Lydia van Bergen tries to bring peace to Reginald and Anna Catherine and her heart aches over their struggle. The only two at peace are Stone Thrower and Good Voice.
As for the plot, much is centered on the building to the battle at Oriskany in August 1777. Each has a role as winter bridges to summer and the march to battle begins. William has joined the British forces in an act of defiance despite his conscience. Two Hawks and Stone Thrower scout for the American side of the cause. Reginald is building river-going ships for the Americans, even joining an early battle on Lake Champlain. Good Voice wishes for the safe return of both of her sons while a late surprise in life brings her comfort. Lydia and Anna Catherine, both serving as midwives, assist those in town before striking off in an unexpected direction. Additionally, there is a point in the book where Two Hawks, using his Christian name of Jonathan, makes an attempt to fit into Anna Catherine’s world.
Overall, this book is more about the emotional struggles of the characters than the historical era. The era simply serves as a backdrop and a way for all the characters to again have their paths collide. Like Benton’s other works (I have read all four of her novels), she writes very descriptive, character driven pieces. And that is depicted no more highly in her works than in this. Often we see the characters featured alone in scenes with their struggles. As always, Benton’s historical research is well-done and selected sources are included in the author’s note at the novel’s end. While I hope for a third book in the series, there is no indication that another will follow. Compared to The Wood’s Edge, this book is a harder read due to the more angst-filled plot.
This novel is also an inspirational novel. As always, I want to address that issue. The topic is integrated in through the presence of a each character professing their beliefs at various points. Given the era in which the novel was set, this is something that was commonly done. Therefore, I do feel that anyone who loves historical novels should not have many, if any, objections to the novel.
Admittedly, I have not finished reading this book so my thoughts could still change. I was hesitant to post, but I do believe I have read more than enough to describe the book. Why am I not completed, you may ask? Here’s the answer: I badly bone bruised my foot last Monday evening. Pain meds make me sleepy, and that’s just a double dose of Ibuprofen!
After I reviewed, The Wood’s Edge last spring, did you read it? If so, what did you think? Will you read the second book? As a word of caution, if you did not read the first book, don’t read this until you do. The plot continues over both books. Do you know of any other novels depicting the collision of Native American and White American cultures during or prior to the American Revolution that you would suggest?
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.